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February 25, 2019

Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Undermining judicial independence

WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 25, 2019 – The American Bar Association is concerned by efforts in some state legislatures that could undermine the independence of the courts.

 A fair and impartial judiciary is indispensable to our system of justice. Yet last year alone, 18 state legislatures considered at least 60 bills that would have diminished the role or independence of the judicial branch, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Some of these proposed bills would have politicized the judicial selection process by giving legislatures or governors more control over the judicial selection process. Others would have discouraged independent decision-making by increasing the likelihood of judges being impeached or facing other retribution for unpopular decisions. Similar bills are being introduced this year.

Both judicial decisions and the process by which judges are selected must transcend political partisanship. The ABA calls on state legislatures to respect the independence of the judicial branch and end efforts to politicize the judicial process.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.